… Me either, lets talk about the important stuff. Like what a crappy hunter I am, and how much I still love doing it anyways. We at PWP took off last weekend for a little impromptu 4-day, every-critter-that-can-be-seen-can-be-shot-I-got-a-tag-for-them-all weekend. Since the blog picture wasn’t a pile of dead animals, you can assume that we didn’t exactly “tag out”. I guess we should be starting to get used to it. But elk is a hard critter to hunt anyways, They are finicky about where the want to live, temperature, weather, phase of the moon, they are truly the primadonna of the Cervidae family. (says the guy who can’t figure out how to put one in his freezer) But boy are they majestic, and more importantly, DELICIOUS. Se we test our patience,our bodies, and our bank accounts, for just one chance to put meat in the freezer, and horns on the wall. There is a reason why the success rate in Idaho is only a taste over 5%, the hunting ain’t easy, no matter what you have seen on hunting videos. We saw plenty of deer, mostly does, and a couple little bucks, but the season is still early, so we decided to just get rained on instead.
We did get to use some of what we preach though. Lets just say that there was an incident where a rifle (I’m not going to point fingers, but it wasn’t Kris’s or my rifle) took a digger off an ATV. Remember when you were in hunters ed class and they talked about mud getting stuck in a barrel? That story is real, and it is amazing how far soft muddle will travel up a muzzle if it falls in lawn dart fashion. Who brings a cleaning kit to hunting camp with them? I do. Who carries there cleaning kit on there ATV. I sure don’t. So, the hunt was over right? If there is one thing that we always preach, its to just adapt and start looking for a solution with what you have. There is no possible way to carry every tool for every situation with you every day. The important thing is to have enough, and having the ability to think outside of the box for your solution. (Just a little, for-what-its-worth, you can improvise a pretty good bore-snake out of paracord 😉 ) After getting the bore clean, we realized that not only had the barrel made contact, but the scope had also seen a battle, with cross-hairs no longer vertical, and aiming about 3 counties right. So we packed up camp, and drove back to town so that we could have the rifle repaired right? No way, were Post World Patriot, not better homes & garden, we loosened up the rings and scope mounts, squared up the cross-hairs, pulled the bolt, centered the bore on a target, then drifted the scope back to where it should be (just think of it as a poor kid bore site). 3 rounds and 20 minutes later we were back on the road, Even I was a little impressed.
So we didn’t whack em and stack em like we had hoped, and as my son grows ever closer to being able to hunt (I tested him yesterday, I went up north and did some duck hunting, then asked if he wanted to come out and see how to clean a duck. He put on his boots, came outside and watched the whole event, even asking me to explain what all the organs were, little did I know that I needed a biology degree to show my 5 year old how to keel out a duck … Needless to say, not only is he ready… But he will probably shoot a bull before I do.) I realize that hunting, much like all things that are truly important, is a labor of love, and the experience and the journey is as important as the destination. Hunting trips and hunting camps are pretty much explained in 3 steps. The preparation, the hunt, and the afterglow. The preparation is the planning, the excitement, and even the ride out to your “spot”. Its glorious, the hope for excellence is over the top. The day is fresh, clean, and full of potential. The hunt is the work, half of you wants to dance like a 5 year old, while the other half remains stoic. Teddy Roosevelt didn’t dance, neither did Papa Hemingway, keep it together man 😉 . The afterglow can be the ride home or the camp chair around the fire. That is where you catch up about all things hunting and life. You talk about the family, how junior is doing in school, How your new rifle is way better then everyone else’s, about your new honey-hole for small mouths… All the important stuff. As much as the filled tag, and meat in the freezer drives you, it wouldn’t mean much without the experience. If all we care about is meat and horns, there are plenty of racks for sale on craigslist, and Walmart is open 24 hours. But if you truly love the the hunt as much as I do, please take someone new into the woods. Show them the experience, and remember to look around a bit, breath the fresh air, and enjoy the sunrise. Long after you have ate the last pack of deer burger from your freezer, the memories will still keep you hungry.
-Grant Willoughby 10/23/2016-